Golden State Warriors to face Houston Rockets in Western Conference finals

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He continues to be anchor on defense for the Houston Rockets.

Advancing to the Western Conference Finals was nearly just a dream for Chris Paul when he was still playing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Paul, a nine-time All-Star in his first season with Houston after an off-season trade from the Los Angeles Clippers, also had 10 assists and seven rebounds. For him, it's all about just playing the game. His performance earned him the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, as well as a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team. The Warriors adopted a mindset and stuck to it throughout the season: Mental and physical health are more important than the No. 1 seed. The majority of Golden State's core has played together through multiple big-time playoff series. That series resumes tonight during Game 5 in Boston with the C's leading the Sixers 3-1.

It didn't work as planned, because Stephen Curry was hurt when the first round started. In large part due to his return, the Warriors are almost 1/2 favorites with -195 odds to win the series, via BetOnline.

Houston and Golden State have performed as expected this postseason. In the last three games of the series, Paul had 22 assists and one turnover. All but one of the Rockets' eight victories have come by double digits.

"After spending the summer acquiring Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and other pieces to increase the Rockets" ability to match-up with the Warriors, Houston GM Daryl Morey admitted in a radio interview back in December that Golden State is "the only thing we think about".

There shouldn't be much stock put in their three regular-season matchups.

The veteran has hardly been needed to do it all this season due to Harden's brilliance, but the win was a reminder of the luxuries Houston are equipped with.

Clint Capela doesn't seem to agree. Both teams had their full allotment of stars on January 20, when the Rockets beat the Warriors 116-108. We are going to keep improving our roster.... "For us, like we said before the game and every game, they're in our way".

Perhaps Houston has been eying a matchup with Golden State for the last several months.

"We've got to win one game at Oracle and that's the one that we play next", Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. Obviously, you want to build your team to beat the defending champs because that's usually how you have to go to win a championship. If (you're) in the way of that, then you happen to be in the way.However, we got them.

Paul, who no longer has the title of the most playoff experience in National Basketball Association history without a conference finals appearance, scored or assisted on 26 of the Rockets' 37 points in the fourth quarter.

"Who plays just for that?" "We got a little exhausted and a little rattled and we didn't finish the game we wanted to", he added. All right, now let's get it. He looked exhausted to me after about eight minutes in the third, so I took him out around the 4 minute mark, then we played him the whole fourth I think.

The first half was largely dominated by the Rockets, although as they have all series Utah's defensive resiliency helped them go on runs to sustain their chance of avoiding elimination.

Do not forget that you can also check Facebook for the game as some groups are streaming as well. With Paul, Harden and Ariza, they have three guys that can shoot, alongside Paul's facilitation of the offense. The Pelicans lost 118-92 on Sunday and shot just 36.4 percent — 32 of 88 and 4 for 26 on 3-pointers. The Rockets outscored the Jazz by 20 points during Paul's 38 minutes on the court. Which is a testament to how well the Warriors have defended the perimeter.

Now that these two powers are finally set to meet in the Western Conference finals, Draymond Green says, "It's time to play".

"You can't believe the hype", Warriors guard Klay Thompson said beforehand. Game 1 of the next series is to be announced.

In the first half, the Warriors kept growing a small lead, which New Orleans kept recovering from.

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